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Thread: LBS loathing.

  1. #1
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    LBS loathing.

    I really am motivated in learning how to fix my bicycles and the LBS is the reason.

    I always feel belittled by them from what they say and don't say.
    The bike never comes out totally fixed (or not fixed at all) and I try to tell them tiny problems as they roll their eyes.
    They move the seat all out of wack. Even leaving it in unrideable positions.
    When they sell things they are extremely expensive.


    I have no problem with supporting them in fixing my bicycle or buying things from them, but as stated above I want to be a customer not their enabler. I should not have to cringe everytime I take it in.

    Bycotting is not a solution since I have no car, and need someone close.
    I have two too choose from and each gives me different problems.
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    Well, stores vary in quality. Perhaps you happen to have a bad LBS. You might want to check around to see if there are alternative LBS's you could patronize. In addition, it doesn't hurt to learn more about doing repairs by yourself, although chances are the first time you do any specific repair, it will take 10x the time it would take you doing it a second or subsequent time.
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
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    Meet your new LBS.-----> www.parktool.com

    I'm pretty hard to please as a customer, so i figured i better start doing my own work so i would have nobody else to blame.

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    LEarning to do some of your own repairs and adjustments is always a wise investment in yourself. The more you practice the better you will get at diagnosing and fixing problems. And bike repair is not rocket science -- check out the Park Tool site, work slowly and carefully and keep all the parts carefully sorted out so you can reassemble it all when you are done. That being said, I second the idea of checking out other shops for ones with a better attitude. I've not found huge price difference betwwen shops in my area, but attitude can be very different.
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    Well you will have to buy tools, so if you're short on cash at the current time, try to find a better bike shop.
    But for things that are easy, or have cheap tools go for it.
    I don't think you should have any problem with the small stuff/

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    (two to choose from)

    I think they may be messing with you based on your frustration and then it snowballs. I have become frustrated with local bike shops at times but you have to try and look at things from their perspective too. It's too bad though if they both seem to not be satisfying you you couldn't put your bike on a bus and take it to another shop further away. I rarely have to have a shop do anything so it shouldn't be that often of an occurance should it? ...Good ideas on doing your own stuff though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simmons Lane
    (two to choose from)

    I think they may be messing with you based on your frustration and then it snowballs. I have become frustrated with local bike shops at times but you have to try and look at things from their perspective too. It's too bad though if they both seem to not be satisfying you you couldn't put your bike on a bus and take it to another shop further away. I rarely have to have a shop do anything so it shouldn't be that often of an occurance should it? ...Good ideas on doing your own stuff though.
    Or just ride it, I mean it is a bike, and this is the commuter forum.

  8. #8
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    There are good LBSs and bad LBSs. You seem to have a bad one, at least in the repair and customer service department. Better ones exist, but may be inconvenient, too far etc.

    Fixing your own bike can be a lot of fun, and at least you know nothing will be left to chance.

  9. #9
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    Befriend the wrenches at your LBS. They'll bend over backwards to help you learn, give you premium service, give you cut-rate prices, and move your job to the front of the line often as not. How do you befriend an overworked, underpaid wrench? BRIBE THEM! A box of cookies or a home-made pie goes farther than all the $$ you can pay to the shop on a repair job.

    Human nature being what it is, folks like to receive attention. The LBS wrenches are folks too. You can't take their time, since that is what they're being paid for; the amount of money you could tip them wouldn't make much of a dent in their bills, either. A small treat on occasion seems to strike a balance between "too much" and "too little." No matter what you bring, it will always be appreciated.

    Don't expect "quid pro quo" on your gifts either. Make it clear that you're willing to wait till the wrenches can do your job and that you're willing to pay what the shop wants to charge. Your fairness and generosity will be noted and reciprocated, eventually.

    Just my 2-cents...

  10. #10
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Befriend the wrenches at your LBS. They'll bend over backwards to help you learn, give you premium service, give you cut-rate prices, and move your job to the front of the line often as not. How do you befriend an overworked, underpaid wrench? BRIBE THEM! A box of cookies or a home-made pie goes farther than all the $$ you can pay to the shop on a repair job.

    Human nature being what it is, folks like to receive attention. The LBS wrenches are folks too. You can't take their time, since that is what they're being paid for; the amount of money you could tip them wouldn't make much of a dent in their bills, either. A small treat on occasion seems to strike a balance between "too much" and "too little." No matter what you bring, it will always be appreciated.

    Don't expect "quid pro quo" on your gifts either. Make it clear that you're willing to wait till the wrenches can do your job and that you're willing to pay what the shop wants to charge. Your fairness and generosity will be noted and reciprocated, eventually.

    Just my 2-cents...

    Doubt if that would work. Sounds as if the LBS is purposefully trying to drive him away ("Eh - another guy who wants his ancent [read = 'not bought off our showroom floor less then a year ago'] bike.").

    I agree with most of the posters here - either find another LBS or fiddle about and attempt some of the repairs that don't require special/expensive tools yourself. If in doubt... www.sheldonbrown.com.

    -Kurt

  11. #11
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    So they roll out a bike with a seat in an unrideable position and you smile and give them some cookies. That's called rewarding bad behaviour.

    I say, ditch them. Find another shop for major repairs, and do relatively minor stuff yourself (the definitions of "major" and "minor" vary with cyclists' mechanical skills, of course).

  12. #12
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I had to replace a bent handlebar, brakes, bar end shifters and all. I just picked up a bike repair book (one of several available) at the local library and did it with the basic tools I carry all the time. The book made it clear when special tools were need, like freewheel removers. Also, our local bicycle activists maintain a little shop, open twice a week, that are fully equiped for people to do their own repairs. There is always someone there who can help. See if your town has something like that.
    This space open

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Befriend the wrenches at your LBS. They'll bend over backwards to help you learn, give you premium service, give you cut-rate prices, and move your job to the front of the line often as not. How do you befriend an overworked, underpaid wrench? BRIBE THEM!...
    Are you serious? I believe the other posters gave the OP good advice.

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    Pick up a beater and use it as your learning environment. I picked up a 1993 Trek 520 for just that. That way if it takes you a little while to get it working that's ok, it's not your primary bike.

  15. #15
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel
    ...
    I always feel belittled by them from what they say and don't say.
    The bike never comes out totally fixed (or not fixed at all) and I try to tell them tiny problems as they roll their eyes.
    They move the seat all out of wack. Even leaving it in unrideable positions. ...
    A number of things could be going on. As others have mentioned, you might have a bad LBS. Your expectations might not be realistic. For example, some tiny problems can be amazingly time consuming to diagnose and fix, but they don't actually need to be fixed. Part of maintaining a bike is knowing what things do and do not require attention.

    Whatever the case, it is always worth knowing how to do things. If you understand how to do things, you can tell people what you need, ask the right questions, answer questions others have for you, and understand what your money pays for.

    In my professional life, I design and support things for people. My experience is that providing service for a knowledgeable customer is far easier because I understand what the customer needs, s/he understands my constraints when I communicate them, so the end result is a superior product delivered in much less time. In my opinion, the least informed customers are the hardest and most time consuming ones to work with -- and their level of satisfaction with the process and final product tends to be lower.

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    I'm so damn picky bike stores find me irritating... and impatient. With a reasonable amount of mechanical skills and patience you can easily perform most repairs yourself.
    Anyhow, find a new LBS and pick up a book. Browse sheldonbrown.com and parktools.com.
    Research and then purchase your tools. Working on a bike is very rewarding.
    Heck, I can barely work on a car but I am having a fair amount of success with bikes. This morning I overhauled my rear hub and replaced a set of brake pads. The brake pads were nothing but the hub took a bit of time. Stupid irritating noise. I will get you yet! Now for some tools to work on my freehub with. he he My wife is going to kill me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings
    I had to replace a bent handlebar, brakes, bar end shifters and all. I just picked up a bike repair book (one of several available) at the local library and did it with the basic tools I carry all the time. The book made it clear when special tools were need, like freewheel removers. Also, our local bicycle activists maintain a little shop, open twice a week, that are fully equiped for people to do their own repairs. There is always someone there who can help. See if your town has something like that.
    Where in Nor-Cal do you live?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel
    I really am motivated in learning how to fix my bicycles and the LBS is the reason.

    I always feel belittled by them from what they say and don't say.
    The bike never comes out totally fixed (or not fixed at all) and I try to tell them tiny problems as they roll their eyes.
    They move the seat all out of wack. Even leaving it in unrideable positions.
    When they sell things they are extremely expensive.


    I have no problem with supporting them in fixing my bicycle or buying things from them, but as stated above I want to be a customer not their enabler. I should not have to cringe everytime I take it in.

    Bycotting is not a solution since I have no car, and need someone close.
    I have two too choose from and each gives me different problems.
    Dood I feel exactly the same way with my two closest LBS's. Well I've never had the bikes in to be fixed yet but I'm just fromt he buying side of things. One LBS always seems to be pushing products at times and you feel some pressure to buy because of the small store setting. Anyways that too has sparked me to learn slowly how to fix my own bike to some level. Start small then build your way up. A flat tire fix/patch, then brake pads, then cabling, etc. I've not gone past the flat tire phase yet but I'm thinking of getting a beater to work on.

    I would look into taking a bike repair course. Check with your local college, community center, or schools. I forgot what they call it here but I think it's called "adult education centers" or something like that. I'll have to find the catalog again. There is a bike course here that covers head to toe on the bike for something like $165 CDN and I think there is a basic maintance course that is less technical for around less then $100 bucks. I think if you have something like what I mentioned and you're short on cash then go with the (if you have the two levels of courses) the less cost course and you can ifx most of the issues on your bike and it's a good personal investment. Heck, who knows, those skills might come in handy if you see a damsel in distress and her bike is not working then you can break out the tools and be the hero.

    Anyways, hope that helps some.


    Zero_Enigma

  19. #19
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    I will post this link to show you that you can do most of your own repairs and I never get tired of positng pics of my bike!

    Vintage Schwinn: Conversion to Nexus 8 (Pics!)

    I have had similar experiences wiht some LBS's in my area. I got the Park big blue book of bike repair, a basic tool kit from NAshbar and my life is a whole lot easier!!!. When repair sitiuations arise I now feel able to diagnose and determine if the repair is within or above my limits. What I have learned so far helps me in situtions when there is no LBS help around. Either way I will do my best to make the repair myself, if it is going to the shop anyway I might as well give it a shot. In addition I have found that my being able to discuss the repair issues with the LBS techs from a more knowledgeable standpoint has been a great help as well. I get what I want/need and am happy. They are better able to help/solve the problem diffinitively and are happy. I would encougae you to jump right in, have patience and buy a back up bike if you do not have one already. Having a back up ride really takes the pressure off when having to have a repair done. Good luck!

  20. #20
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    I do all my own repairs, pretty much, but I get a lot of help from this board, and the best advice here often comes from LBS mechanics. So don't blast the LBS too harshly!
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  21. #21
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by datajunkie
    Browse sheldonbrown.com and parktools.com.
    Careful about typo's in URLs.

    The link should be parktool.com with no S.

    But they're great websites, as others have said.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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  22. #22
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    2 of 3 LBS's in my area give good and friendly service, one of those has good hours, but while their service is friendly it is not reliable, so yeah, DIY is the order of the day. The one that is open <40 hrs a week does the best but they're just not always accessable.

  23. #23
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    Definitely learn to do some basic repairs yourself. I think Nashbar has their bigger-than-big bike tool set on sale for $100. It's not the best tools, but they'll get you started.

    Then go out to amazon.com or Chapters and get "Bicycle Maintenance and Repair" from Bicycling Magazine. It will tell you almost everything you need to know; the Internet will tell you the rest.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  24. #24
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Where do you take your bike?
    I find the important connection is not with the LBS, but with the techs who work on your bike. Some are good/helpful, others less so.
    I did lots of work on my newer bikes with LBS as they were under warrantee - even repairs I can do myself, I'd rather have done at no charge by LBS under warrantee. As that expires, I do more myself.
    Al

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa
    Careful about typo's in URLs.

    The link should be parktool.com with no S.

    But they're great websites, as others have said.
    How many Hail Marries do I need to perform to make up for such a horrid mistake?
    Could I just flog myself?

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